Explore The Cheeses Of Quebec In This Tasting Of 5 Great Cheeses

Quebec is a province in Canada that makes an excellent variety of amazing cheeses. There are almost 200 cheese producers, factory and artisan, in Quebec, and half of the cheese consumed in Canada is produced in Quebec (link in French). Cheese is big business but it is also a big tradition. Here we will explore and taste five great Quebec cheeses some of the best.

Cheese Selection
Selection of cheeses

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Oct. 15, 2020, by Deborah Esplin

Explore The Cheeses Of Quebec

These cheeses are presented in the order from mildest to most robust flavour. Some of these cheeses are made by big international producers and some are made by single-factory artisan producers, but they all represent some of the best and great Quebec cheeses with a variety of tastes that represent the large variety that you find in this area. Enjoy.

Saint-Paulin, a cheese from France made in Quebec

Saint-Paulin Cheese
Saint-Paulin Cheese

Saint-Paulin is a semi-firm, mild cheese. It has a light, creamy colour inside and a bright orange rind on the outside.  It is a very mild tasting cheese with a pleasant, light texture and buttery smoothness on the tongue.

Saint-Paulin was a finalist in the 2015 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

How did Saint-Paulin Start?

Saint-Paulin is a cousin to the French cheese, Port-du-Salut. It was started by Trappist monks in France, who learned cheese-making in Switzerland. As the Trappist monks moved to Canada, they brought the making of Saint-Paulin with them and started making the cheese in a village in Quebec called Saint-Paulin. Saint-Paulin cheese has been produced in Quebec in the Trappist Abbey in Oka since the late nineteenth century. The cheese is still made there, however, Agropur now runs the production of Saint-Paulin and Oka cheese which is made in the same facility. Check out the Oka cheese below.

Pairings for Saint-Paulin

Saint-Paulin, as a mild cheese, goes well with lagers and light beers, white wine and slightly fruity, not robust red wines. This cheese also pairs well with iced tea and light juices like apple or white grape. It also pairs well with fruits and nuts. It can go with delicate butter lettuce, Boston lettuce salad or mild meats like turkey, chicken and whitefish.

Cendré de Lune Alexis de Portneuf, a great Quebec cheese

Brie with Ash
Ashed Brie Cheese

Cendré de lune is a triple cream brie cheese with an ash coating. It is a mild brie cheese with a slightly buttery taste. The ash coating adds an extra layer of flavour, not bitter, pleasant, but slightly sharp or peppery.

This cheese, Cendré de lune, has won multiple awards, around the world, and is an amazing taste experience.

How did Cendré de lune start

Cendré de lune is made by the company, Fromagerie Alexis de Portneuf. How did this cheese start? Alexis Cayer and his wife, Jane Skinner, moved to Portneuf, Quebec in 1842 and started raising cows. As well, they started making cheese and became excellent cheesemakers. Today, the company makes many kinds of cheese in a variety of categories from Brie/Camembert to Blue, Soft, Goat, Semi-Firm, and Firm. I can’t wait to explore more of their cheeses.

The Cendré de Lune cheese has won several awards including Gold in the International Cheese Award in 2018 and Bronze in the Internal Cheese Award 2017.

Pairings for Cendré de lune

Cendré de lune is good on bread, in a sandwich, with fruit, with nuts, and in a salad. It also goes well with white wine, lagers and white beers. Good non-alcoholic choices would be black tea, or coffee and citrus juices. It has enough flavour to stand up to meats in sandwiches and salad ingredients. It is very versatile and delicious.

Smoked Oka, another great Quebec cheese

Smoked Cheese

Smoked Oka cheese is a firm cheese with a mild flavour, but the smoked rind gives the cheese a richer, more robust flavour. The actual cheese flavour is buttery and milk, but the smoke adds a slightly acidic, tangy, nutty flavour to the cheese that is delicious. You can also buy classic Oka which is not smoked.

How did Oka start?

The story of Oka cheese is very similar to that of Saint-Paulin as they both came from the same recipe for Port-du-Salut cheese brought to Quebec by Trappist monks. The Trappist abbey in Oka, Quebec, was struggling financially and one of the monks from France, Brother Alphonse, brought the recipe for Port-du-Salut, in 1893, tweaked it for Canadian conditions and taught the monks how to make the cheese which was named Oka. The cheese is still made at the Abbey in Oka, however, the Canadian company Agropur took over the production of the cheese in 1981.

Like many Quebec kinds of cheese, Oka has won awards including first place in the British Empire Cheese Show in 2016.

Pairings for Oka cheese

Smoked Oka cheese, with the mild but smokey flavour, is a good pairing for a dry white wine, light to brown beer and fruity red wine. Smoked Oka also goes well with coffee, black tea and mango juice. It goes well with pasta, in fondue, in salads, sandwiches and casseroles or on its own with nuts and most fruits, especially fruits with a slightly stronger flavour profile like kiwi, mango and pineapple.

La Tomme d’Elles, a creative and great Quebec cheese

Sheep Cheese
Sheep Cheese

This cheese is a semi-firm cheese made with a mixture of cow, and sheep’s milk. It has a medium-strong flavour, somewhat salty, slightly herby taste with a slight tang from the sheep milk. It is very good.

La Tomme d’Elles has won best cheese in the blended milk category for the 2011 Sélection CASEUS competition among others.

How did La Tomme d’Elles start

This cheese, La Tomme d’Elles, is more recent. The cheese has been in production since 1994 and was created by a Mr Maurice Dufour who started the artisan cheese factory, Famille Migneron de Charlevoix. (link in French)

Pairings for La Tomme d’Elles

Since La Tomme d’Elles has a fairly robust flavour, it can be paired with drinks and foods that have stronger flavour profiles. La Tomme d’Elles does well with fruity or mildly robust red wines, medium-strength beers like red and brown beers. For non-alcoholic choices, La Tomme d’Elles goes well with black tea, coffee, and stronger flavour juices like mango or pineapple. As well, this cheese will go very well with a meat platter and with a stronger flavour bread like sourdough or rye. The cheese could also work shredded on a leek or spinach soup or in a moderately flavourful casserole.

Délices des Appalaches, one of my favourite Quebec cheeses

Le Délices des Appalaches is so-named because it is made in a region of Quebec called the Appalachians which is in the south-centre region of Quebec about 2 hours east of Montreal. The cheese is a semi-firm, lactose-free cheese with a tangy flavour. The fruity, tangy flavour comes from the washing of the rind in ice cider produced in the region (link text in French). It has a unique flavour, slightly tangy, slightly citrusy and is really worth trying.

Le Délices des Appalaches has won awards. Most recently, second place in the British Empire Cheese Competition 2018 and a Silver Medal in the World Cheese Awards 2015.

How did Le Délices des Appalaches start?

For seven generations, the Dubois family has been living in the region and making cheese. The family prides themselves on creating unique cheeses that delight the taste buds. All of the cheeses produced by the company, called Rang 9, are lactose-free and unique.

Pairings for Le Délices de Appalaches

This is a versatile cheese that would go well with a sweet or dry white wine and almost any red from fruity to robust. The cheese would go well in sandwiches, with nuts and on almost any salad, especially salads with ingredients that have a stronger flavour like onion, arugula, escarole, spinach and kale.

Some of these cheeses are available in other parts of Canada, but not all. I haven’t been able to find a way for people outside of Quebec to enjoy these great Quebec cheeses. You will just have to come here when the pandemic is voer.

Enjoy these cheeses and leave for comments below.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

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Vegetable Stock And Variations

Making vegetable stock is so easy and so delicious. It can be made in several different ways. Plus it is inexpensive and makes use of vegetable parts and liquids that we often throw out. Below you have the variations on vegetable stock with the do’s and don’ts specific to vegetable stock. Try all the variations.

Vegetable Stock
Vegetable Stock

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

October 11, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

How To Make Classic Vegetable Stock

This is a liquid broth made from vegetables. It is useful as a base for soups, stews, sauces, casseroles, pastas and gravies.

Ingredients for Classic Vegetable Stock 

This is the first variation of how to make vegetable stock.

Take vegetables that you like, and generally ones that have a somewhat mild flavour, like:

    • carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, parsnips, celery, celery root and squashes

You can also use vegetables that have a stronger flavour like:

    • mushrooms, spinach, kale, carrot top greens, bell peppers, onion, garlic, leek and other strongly-flavoured vegetables
    • Water
    • White vinegar
    • Salt

Preparation Of Classic Vegetable Stock

Before you start, choose if you want to make a mild stock or a strong-flavoured stock. If you make a strong-flavoured stock, then it may not work in all your dishes.

Wash, peel and chop the vegetables into chunks. The chunks do not need to be bite-size. Add the vegetables to a stockpot. Add water until you have twice as much water as vegetables. Add a tablespoon or two of white vinegar and a pinch of salt.

I don’t add more seasoning at this point, because you can always add more seasoning when you use the broth.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Let cool for 30 minutes with the lid off. With a strainer and a bowl, remove the vegetables from the stock and let the liquid drain over the bowl.

When the vegetables have drained put the stock in the bowl back into the pan and put in your containers. The stock can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen.

Tip: The main caution is to select your vegetables for the stock that have flavours that work together.

Note: Turnip can be used but it has a strong flavour.

Note: Also, carrot tops and zucchini can make your brother bitter. I only add a few and do not simmer the stock for more than 30 minutes.

How To Make Thick Vegetable Stock

This kind of stock is where you will blend the cooked vegetables into the liquid instead of removing them and putting them to waste. This stock is almost like a soup, and it can be used as a base for soups or stews, but it would not work as a base for sauces or gravies. It would work with some casseroles, but not all depending on the flavour and thickness.

Because you are going to blend the vegetables into the liquid, you need to be careful about the flavours and colours. Generally, you will want to only use one or two vegetables to make this thick stock.

Also, I generally don’t mix colours because it makes the stock go an ugly brown colour that is not appetizing. You could mix:

    • tomato, red bell pepper, carrots and beets, if desired
    • green pepper, spinach, celery
    • potatoes, leeks
    • mushrooms, onions

I would not mix red bell pepper & spinach, as an example, unless I was going to use it in a casserole or pasta dish with those vegetables.

Also, for potatoes, you may not want to use a potato stock with all your dishes. Potato stock tends to be thick, but it can be good in some dishes.

Zucchini and greens can go bitter when cooked for a long time.

Follow the preparation instructions above, but blend the vegetables into the liquid, instead of removing them.

How To Make Stock From Leftover Vegetables & Throwaways

You can also make stock from some parts of a vegetable that you throw away and from liquid leftover from cooking vegetables.

When you boil potatoes, carrots or other vegetables, you can keep that liquid for stock instead of throwing it out. I have a plastic bottle that I keep in the freezer and when I have liquid leftover from cooking vegetables, I let it cool then put it in the bottle. When the bottle is full or when I need stock, I use that liquid.

Other parts of vegetables that we throw away like carrot greens, celery tops, leek greens, can also be used to make stock. Instead of throwing them out, put them in a storage bag in the freezer and when you have enough make Classic Vegetable Stock with the leftovers.

If you have vegetables that are near the end of their life and you don’t want to use them as a vegetable, you can freeze them and use them to make stock. For example, celery that has gone soft can be used for stock instead of throwing it out. Don’t make stock from rotten vegetables, as it will taste rotten.

Follow the preparation instructions for Classic Vegetable Broth Above.

Equipment Needed To Make Stock

A stockpot is very useful because the making of a stock involves a lot of water. Having a good-sized stockpot means that you can make bigger batches, which is more efficient.

Check out these links with the tools you need to make Vegetable Stock.

Stock Pot, 20 quart

Stock Pot, 16 quart

Stock Pot, 12 Quart

Soup Ladle, stainless steel with a cool, grip handle

Soup Ladle, silicone

Strainer, metal

Strainer, silicone collapsible

Stainless Steel Bowl Set with Lids

Oxo Easy-Grip Bowls 3-Set

I really like plastic containers for freezing stock, as plastic will not break if you drop it, and it is not as heavy. The ones below, by Rubbermaid, are leak-proof, dishwasher safe, and stackable. I love these containers for the freezer.

Rubbermaid Plastic Food Storage Containers, set of 21

 

Check out other recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

Cooking A Show Of Love


 

How To Have A Safe Virtual Thanksgiving During The Pandemic | 12 Tips

This is the seventh blog in a series on Stay Safe During The Pandemic.

Thanksgiving is coming. It is Monday, Oct. 12, 2020 in Canada and the third Thursday in November in the USA. With the second wave of the pandemic in full swing, at least in my area, it may very well turn out to be a virtual celebration. Here are twelve tips on how to plan a safe virtual Thanksgiving celebration.

how to have a safe virtual thanksgiving
Thanksgiving

October 7, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

In my area, outside and inside gatherings have now been banned. We are in the full impact of the second wave. However, when I started the research for this blog post, it was still possible to have a small outdoor gathering.  Now, we know that Thanksgiving will be a virtual celebration in my area. Other parts of the country and the continent may still be able to have some kind of celebration in person, but not in my area.ea.

The first Thanksgiving recorded in Canada was in 1578 when Martin Frobisher served a meal of tinned meat and mushy peas upon touching land in Newfoundland. In 1606 Samuel de Champlain held a large feast in November for the colonists so they could fatten up before the lean winter coming. It was a strategy to reduce starvation.

Harvest celebrations are common all around the world. In North America, the indigenous populations have had harvest celebrations. In the UK harvest celebrations are also common. It is said they were adopted from the celts.

In Canada, Thanksgiving became an official holiday in 1957. And it is standard in practice across the country and very similar to the American Thanksgiving. A typical Canadian Thanksgiving meal would include a turkey, often cooked with maple syrup, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rice, corn, cranberry sauce, and some kind of pie.

Traditionally family and close friends that do not have family around gather for a long and large meal and spend a few hours eating and socializing. Thanksgiving is considered a very important holiday for families to gather together.

Therefore, not being able to have Thanksgiving with families celebrating in person is going to be a shock and disappointment for many people. But there are ways to do this without being physically present with each other.

How To Have A Virtual Thanksgiving

Here are 12 tips for you.

1. Start Planning Now

To avoid being depressed on the day about being alone and not celebrating, start planning now how you will connect and celebrate with family. With email, video chat, telephone and social media groups, there are lots of ways to get together and brainstorm about how to make holiday fun.

2. Get Creative About Ways To Get Together Virtually

Thanks to technology, we have many choices about how we can still celebrate together from our own homes. There are so many options for connecting through social media and video chat. I’m sure that each family has figured out the options they like best. Set a time and a date to connect over the weekend.

It could be just to have a conversation or play a game or people can set up their devices in the kitchen and cook together. We have many options now to connect while being physically distant.

3. Hold A Contest

It could be a house or garden decorating contest, a table decorating contest, a cooking, or a pie-making contest. It could be a craft contest with the kids. Then you can review the results, share them on social media if desired, and even give out awards.

4. Send Flowers To Family Members

Especially for older members in the family that may find it very hard to be alone for Thanksgiving, they might appreciate receiving flowers as a reminder that you are thinking of them and holding them in your hearts.

5. Send A Gift Basket

A gift basket is another possibility. Maybe someone in the family just had a baby or someone else is all alone. A gift basket can be a great gift to cheer people up.

Here are some options for gift baskets:

Gourmet Gift Baskets 15% off 

Chocolate Gift Baskets 15% off

Baby Gift Baskets 15% off

Anniversary Gift Baskets 15% off

Gourmet Chocolate Gift Basket

Bon Appetit Gift Basket

Movie Night Gift Basket

Spa Luxetique Vanilla Spa Gift Basket

6. Have A Cooking, Baking Competition

Decide on something that you will each make and then compare the result. Whether it is cooked turkeys, the stuffings, the pies, or side dishes that are made. Share recipes and have a good laugh. You can even have a competition to make each other’s recipes instead of your own favorites and see who likes which ones the best.

And if your family is close, you can drop off your result for tasting.

7. Stay Adaptable And Flexible

We are going to have to do things differently this year, but that does not mean that we can not celebrate. It also doesn’t mean that we can make this a fun and memorable holiday. It just means we need to be creative about how to make it fun and special.

Remind yourself that being flexible will make the holiday easier and make it more fun.

8. Adjust Your MindSet

Prepare yourself mentally for the fact that you may not be celebrating with your family in the same room. Accept that fact. We are living through a very unusual time and to come out of this pandemic with fewer deaths and less damage, we have to keep our distance from people that do not live in our household. None of us like this fact. None of us want to celebrate Thanksgiving alone or just with our immediate household, but, at least in my area, we do not have a choice this year. I would rather give up being with the extended family this year, to help keep us all safe.

Reframe the negative and figure out how to make it positive despite the downsides. Thanksgiving can still be fun and we can still celebrate. It will just be different. Not bad, just different.

9. Stay Positive

A positive mindset will help you find fun and creative ways to celebrate remotely. Keep reminding yourself to be positive. Start your day with a positive affirmation. It could be a reminder of something you enjoy in life, or something that you appreciate, or something that you want to do that day that will bring positivity into your life.

We have to celebrate this way this year, but it will not be like this every year. At some point, the pandemic will end. And we will have in-person, extended family gatherings again.

10. Don’t Get Mad, Don’t Get Sad, Take Action

Use your energy to figure out your plans for the weekend. It is okay to be mad and sad for a bit, but taking action will help you to feel better in the long run. If you take action, you will have a tangible result at the end. You will be able to be glad and proud of your Thanksgiving celebration this year.

11. Say Thanks

Everyday, think of something you are grateful for and say thanks for it. This could be a part of your morning coffee, your first few minutes of waking up, or during your daily exercise. Make it a daily habit to think of one thing and say thank you for it.

It has been scientifically proven that the practice of gratitude is beneficial for people’s health, as described in this article in Forbes Magazine.

12. Cook And Deliver

If you have family or friends nearby, you can always cook your Thanksgiving dinner and then deliver a care basket of the cooked food to them. Even if you can’t say hello and just drop the basket at the door, still you are bringing cheer and home-cooked food to people. That is always appreciated. You can always chat after by phone or video.

These are just some ideas. Please comment below on other ideas. Let’s use our brains, our hearts, and technology to make this a great Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada and in a few weeks to the USA.

Here is the companion video to this post.

There are other posts in this series:

5 Best Ways To Test Your Face Mask And Top Tips To Choose A Face Mask

What Should We Do To Prepare For The Second Wave Of The Pandemic | 12 Tips

5 Tips On How To Keep Your Home Safe From COVID

Safe Home Delivery Tips And Should You Wash Your Groceries?

Best Practices Against Covid In The Home 5 Tips To Keep Your Food Safe

9 Tips On How To Stay Safe While Shopping During Covid

 

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Please leave a comment. How will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year? I would love to know what you think.


 

Bone Stock Or Broth And Variations

Making stock or broth is so easy. If you can boil water, then you can make stock. Stock is nutritious and forms a great base for soups, sauces, stews, and casseroles. Plus you use up food that would go to compost or is leftover. Making stock saves you money and cuts your food waste. This is how to make bone stock.

Bone Broth
Bone Stock

Oct. 2, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Ingredients for Bone Stock

Leftover bones (chicken, pork, beef, or any kind of bone except fish)

1/3 cup white vinegar

3/4 full pot of water

1/2 teaspoon salt

How To Prepare Bone Stock

Put all the ingredients into a stockpot or large pan. If the bones are frozen, that is fine. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour.

You will need a strainer, a ladle, and a separate bowl. Ladle the liquid into a bowl through the strainer. This way the strainer catches the bones and solid material.

Pick through the bones and pull off any remaining meat. I like to add this to the stock or save it for a soup or stew.

Let the liquid cool, then use it right away or put it into containers and freeze.

30 cups of stock from one batch,

Stock makes a great soup base and is very nutritious.

TIP: I collect my bones whenever we have a meal with meat that leaves bones. I put them in the freezer and when I have enough I make the stock.

TIP: The white vinegar and salt help pull the nutrients out of the bones and into the stock.

TIP: I have a 12-quart stockpot which makes 8 to 10 quarts of stock when filled 3/4 full with water and bones.

Note: You can mix your bones as suggested above, but you can also do the bones separately. You can make just chicken stock or beef stock. It depends on how you will use the stock. If you are going to make chicken soup, you would not want the flavour of been in your soup.

Tools You Need For Bone Stock

Check out these links with the tools you need to make Bone Stock.

Stock Pot, 20 quart

Stock Pot, 16 quart

Stock Pot, 12 Quart

Soup Ladle, stainless steel with a cool, grip handle

Soup Ladle, silicone

Strainer, metal

Strainer, silicone collapsible

Stainless Steel Bowl Set with Lids

Oxo Easy-Grip Bowls 3-Set

I really like plastic containers for freezing stock, as plastic will not break if you drop it, and it is not as heavy. The ones below, by Rubbermaid, are leak-proof, dishwasher safe, and stackable. I love these containers for the freezer.

Rubbermaid Plastic Food Storage Containers, set of 21

 

Check out other Recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.


 

5 Best Ways To Test Your Face Mask And Top Tips To Choose A Face Mask

This is the sixth blog in a series on Stay Safe During The Pandemic.

What are the 5 best ways to test your mask? Do you know? What are the most important things, the top tips, to look for to choose a good face mask? What are the important things to do to properly fit and wear a face mask? How many layers should a face mask have?

face mask
Face Mask

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Sept. 25, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

Top 5 Ways to Test Your Mask

1. The Candle Test

This test looks at whether you can make the flame of a candle move or even go out. It is not a completely reliable test for aspects of mask efficiency. With this test, you can see if your mask is stopping or slowing down the flow of air, but it is not as reliable for. judging how well the mask will stop coronavirus particles.

A COVID-19 virus is up to 140 nanometres in size, and 10,000 of the virus can fit on the head of a pin. That is a small particle. It is small enough to pass between the holes in the mask, however, if the airflow is reduced, then the movement of viral particles through the mask will also be reduced.

You will need a lit candle and your mask. Put on the mask and make sure that it fits tightly over the nose and cheekbones and is positioned under the chin. get about 6 inches or 15 cm away from the flame. Take a deep breath in and blow out as hard and fast as you can. See if the flame moves. If the flame moves, you can stop. This means that your mask is somewhat effective at reducing airflow but not to an ideal point.

If the flame did not move, get 3 inches or 8 cm away from the flame and blow again. If the flame did not move then you have a mask that is effective at cutting airflow.

2.a. Water Permeability Test on the Outside of the Mask

This test is for disposable masks and masks that are supposed to have a water-resistant coating on the outside. This is to make it harder for moist air, that could contain COVID-19 particles to pass through the outer layer of the mask.

You will need a glass of water and an eyedropper.

Take the mask and drop a couple of drops of water on the outside of the mask. The water should bead and not soak in. If the water soaks in then you do not have a good mask (with the exception of cloth masks that do not have a water-resistant coating. This test does not apply.)

2.b. Water Permeability Test on the Inside of the Mask

The inside layer of the mask, which touches the skin, is supposed to be water absorbent. This way the moisture in your breath will be absorbed by the material and less of the moisture will pass through the mask to the world outside.

Take the mask and drop two drops on the inside. You should see the water being absorbed and not beading.

3. The Light Test

This test is to see how tight the weave is in the materials used to make the mask and to see how much light passes through the mask. Good masks will have a tight weave, which means smaller holes, and less light will come through all the layers.

You will need a flashlight or a strong light source. Take the mask and put it over the flashlight with the outside of the mask visible. Can you see the holes between the weave? If so, you do not have a mask with a tight weave.

Turn the mask over and put it against the light with the inside out and see if you can see holes between the weave.

Was the mask reducing the strength of the light or was the light passing through as strong as if the mask was not there? If the mask does not cut the quantity of light coming through a little, then that is not good. It means the weave is too loose.

4. Layer Count And Thickness Test

Ideally, a mask should have 3 layers. Disposable masks are made of three layers: the outer layer made of non-woven, water-resistant material, the middle layer which is a melt-blown plastic and it has a tight structure to capture particles, and the inner layer which is water absorbent and should be comfortable against the skin.

For the disposable masks, the middle layer should be fairly thick and you should not be able to see holes in the material or see through the material

For a fabric mask, it is also recommended that the mask have three layers or two layers and a pocket for a filter. Many health care professionals prefer 100% cotton but some masks are also made with a polyester/cotton blend. However, the mask is more comfortable if the layer next to the skin is our cotton.

For fabric masks, the fabric should be woven, not knitted, and it should be thick and have a tight weave. However, a very thick fabric can make it harder to breathe and make the mask hotter. It is a compromise between comfort and protection. That is why several layers are recommended.

5. The Burning Test

This test only applies to disposable masks. Cut the mask in half and take a match to the cut edge. Does it melt or burn slightly or does it catch on fire and burn with a flame?

Disposable masks are supposed to be somewhat fire-resistant and should rather melt instead of burning with a bit flame like a piece of paper. The more your mask burns, the less fire-resistant it is.

Here are two YouTube videos where I researched some of these tests:

How Do You Spot A Fake Face Mask?

What is a good quality face mask?

5 Top Tips to Choose a Face Mask

A. The tightness of the weave is very important. Get a facemask with a tight weave that does not stretch. If you can see the individual fibers and spaces in between the fabric is not thick enough or tight enough. Fabric with a thread count of at least 180 is recommended.

B. Do not get a mask made of stretchable material. As the material stretches the spaces between the fibers open up and the holes get larger. Therefore, the mask becomes less effective at reducing airflow and potential virus contamination of other people.

C. The mask should be multi-layer. Three or four layers is recommended or two layers with a filter in the pocket.

D. If you have a filter pocket, put a filter in the pocket. Face mask filters, pre-cut to fit most masks, are available on Amazon. If you do not have filters that come with your mask, you can take two kleenexes and fold them in half to make 4 layers and use that as a filter, or as a last resort, you can use a paper towel folded in half and cut to shape.

E. You need to have a snug fit of the mask. It should not be loose over the nose or cheekbones and it should not keep sliding down your face and off your nose. The better the fit, the more effective the mask is.

If you have problems with the fit and snugness of your mask you can cut a section of pantyhose and wear it over your mask. This may look and sound strange, but it will help hold the mask in place and tight against your face.

You can also buy double-stick skin tape that is made to tape cloth to skin. Here are two options of tape:

Natia Double-Sided Skin Tape

Fashion Body Tape

Some of the top reviewed and popular masks on Amazon are presented below.

EnerPlex Premium 3-Ply Face Mask, 3Pack  This mask comes in three colours and four sizes and includes a sizing chart. The reviews are very good. The mask goes high up the nose so it is less likely to cause the fogging of glasses.

Safe+Mate with Back Strap & Filter Pocket, 3 Pack. This mask has ear loops and a strap around the back for increased comfort. There is a filter pocket and you can purchase filters separately for the pocket.

Euroca Face Masks with Filter Pocket, 2 Pack & 4 Filters. This mask is made of cotton and has adjustable nose clips and ear loops. It has very high reviews for comfort and fit for all sizes of faces. The mask is reusable and comes with filters for the pocket.

Check out the companion video here:

Check out the other posts on this topic of How To Stay Safe During The Pandemic.

Best Practices Against Covid In The Home 5 Tips To Keep Your Food Safe

9 Tips On How To Stay Safe While Shopping During Covid

Safe Home Delivery Tips And Should You Wash Your Groceries?

5 Tips On How To Keep Your Home Safe From COVID

What Should We Do To Prepare For The Second Wave Of The Pandemic | 12 Tips

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

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Please comment. I would love to know what you think.


 

 

Kale, Vegetable Salad with Yogurt & Goat Cheese Dressing

Kale Vegetable salad with yogurt & goat cheese dressing is a fast, easy, nutritious salad to make. The hard-boiled egg adds protein and the yogurt cheese dressing makes a nice change from a vinaigrette.

Kale salad
Kale Vegetable Salad with Yogurt & Goat Cheese Dressing

Sept. 20, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Ingredients for Kale & Vegetable Salad

Several kale leaves washed

1 or 2 Romaine lettuce leaves, washed

1/2 tomato or several cherry tomatoes, chopped

Cucumber, chopped

1 hard-boiled egg, chopped

Any other veggies you want like bell pepper

Chives & fresh herbs, chopped

Ingredients for the Yogurt & Goat Cheese Dressing

35 grams of goat cheese

40 grams plain yogurt

15 ml of olive oil

10 mL balsamic vinegar

30 mL cranberry juice

pinch of dry mustard

a sprinkle of salt & pepper

chives & fresh herbs, chopped

Ingredients for the Topping

pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, or any other seeds that you like

Preparation for Kale Vegetable Salad with Yogurt & Goat Cheese Dressing

Mix the salad ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl. Put the dressing on the salad and mix. Sprinkle the topping, seeds, on the top. It is ready to serve.

TIP: the seeds add crunch and nutrition.

Tools

Chef’s knives: Chef Knife Pro 8 InchTuo 8 InchVictorinox 8 Inch

Cutting Boards: Bamboo 11 x 14 inches, Oxo Plastic 11 x 14 inches, Acacia 14 x 14 inches

Mixing bowls: 5 Stainless Steel Bowls + lids, 3 Pyrex Bowls, 4 Porcelain Bowls, 3 Kitchen Aid Bowls

Scales: 15 kg Scale, USB Charging Scale, Waterproof Scale

 

The presentation in the photo is with corn on the cob and Tattie Scones. Here is the recipe for Tattie Scones.

Check out more recipes here: Recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

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Please comment. I would love to know what you think.


 

9 Great Gift Ideas Under 25 Dollars For Your Kitchen And Home

Do you need a gift for a graduate, a colleague, a retirement party, a housewarming, a birthday, a family member, a friend, a holiday, a gift exchange? Here are 9 great gift ideas that anyone can use for under $25 each for the kitchen and the home. These gift ideas are just plain useful items that people can always use more of even if they already have the same thing. I use all of these products and love them all.

Present

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Sept. 18, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

Here are 9 useful, practical, or fun gift ideas for any occasion and for family, friends, or work. All under $25. Either for the budget conscious or  maybe an occassion where a less expensive present would be the best option.

These choices are all items that I have had and used for the last few months to last few years. I enjoy and appreciate each one and really do not want to live without it. They are all available from Amazon. Click on the links to purchase.

The prices mentioned here are not guaranteed. They can change at any time.

1. Coffee Press

Coffee made in a coffee press is so good. That is because the water has a chance to be in contact with all of the coffee; the oils, the grinds, and after a few minutes in the press you have the best brew. This article explains in more detail why coffee made in a press is so good.

Plus, it is quick and easy to make coffee in a press. You boil the water, add the coffee, and add the hot water. Wait 4 to 5 minutes and you have your morning joe. Plus clean-up is easy. I make my coffee every morning with a coffee press.

      8 oz Coffee Press  

      32 oz Coffee Press  

 

2. Clean/Dirty Dishwasher Magnet

Do you have family discussions around why the dirty dishes are in the sink and not the dishwasher? This is a common family problem and often it is because some people in the family don’t know if the dishes are clean or dirty. With this dishwasher magnet, the confusion is gone. It has saved many complaints and discussions in my household.

The Clean/Dirty Magnet will stick to a metal dishwasher, but it also comes with double-stick tape for non-magnetic surfaces. It has a cover that slides to show either the word dirty or clean and is colour-coded to visually help people know if it says clean or dirty. Everyone in the family loves this little gadgetand it’s inexpensive.

   White Clean/Dirty Magnet

    Black Clean/Dirty Magnet

 

3. Collapsible Bowls

These bowls open up and fold flat. They are made of food-grade materials and are BPA-free. Intended as portable dog food and water bowls, they are great for that purpose. They have a carabiner and can be clipped on a leash or bag. With a water bottle and this bowl, you can take your pooch anywhere with minimal gear and weight.

However, I love these bowls for everything; camping, hiking, and just around the house. I put one out with water in the backyard for the dog and I use another to go around the garden and pick my vegetables. They wash easily and take no storage space.

Practical and useful, I love these for the dog and many other purposes.

    Pack of 3 Bowls

 

4. Short-Stem Food Thermometer

Food thermometers are very useful for meat and many other foods where you want to reach a certain temperature as part of the cooking process. Food thermometers are no longer expensive and come with rapid digital read-outs.

This thermometer reads quickly in Fahrenheit or Celsius. However, it has a short stem, so it is not safe to use for making candy, in smokers, or with barbecues.  It is really best for baked or grilled meat or cooked meals. This model is slightly less expensive than the next model, but it has fewer features and uses.

Short-Stem Digital Thermometer

 

5. Long-Stem Food Thermometer

This food thermometer has a very long stem so it is safe to use with meat, candy, barbecuing, smokers, and many other foods where you want to reach a certain temperature as part of the process. This digital thermometer also reads very quickly in either Fahrenheit or Celsius mode.

Plus, this long-stem thermometer comes with a light, a calibration function and it is waterproof for only a few dollars more. In my opinion, the extra features and uses make it worth the few dollars more in the cost.

Long-Stem Digital Thermometer

 

6. Fridge/Freezer Thermometer

It’s useful to have a thermometer in your fridge and freezer for several reasons. One, your fridge and freezer should be within certain temperatures to get the longest shelf life out of your food.

In this blog post, I discuss the best temperature range for your fridge: How Long Can You Store Fresh Food

In this one, I discuss the best temperature range for your freezer: How Long Can You Store Frozen Food.

Also, if you have a power failure of more than a few hours, a thermometer will help you know the temperature of your fridge and freezer and help you decide if you need to throw out your food or is it okay to keep.

This model of a thermometer is made by Rubbermaid of plastic and metal. It comes with a little stand and a hook so it can hang or sit on a shelf. It has readings in Celsius and Fahrenheit and has temperatures from -20 to +80 F or -30 to +30 C.

Fridge/Freezer Thermometer

 

7. Motion-Detector Night Light

Low-level motion detector lights are so useful inside the home. We have them in hallways and bathrooms and they only turn on, with a small light, when there is motion.

With these lights, we can move around the house in the dark, at night, and do not need to turn on the big lights that blast our eyes and wake up others in the house. The motion detector night light turns off automatically after a period with no motion.

This model is made by GE, and gives a soft light that is just enough to be useful.

GE Motion Detector Night Light

 

8. Motion Detector Night Light with Full On Function

The motion detector night light, made by Sensky, is a regular motion detector night light that goes on with motion and goes after automatically after a period of no motion. However, it has a switch and it is also a regular night-light. You can flip the switch to on, and when it is plugged in, you have a night light, that stays on. Or you can flip the switch to auto and you have a motion detector night light. The second model is slightly more expensive, but it is useful for children’s rooms or rooms where you need a little light on a steady-basis.

    Sensky Motion Detector Night Light with Switch

 

9. Tea Infuser

This is a teapot or tea infuser from David’s Tea. It can be used to make hot or cold tea. It comes with an area in the bottom where you put the tea leaves and a strainer-cover over that area. Of course, you can use it with tea bags as well.

The teapot also comes with an extra feature where you can put it on a cup and the bottom will rise and allow the tea to enter the pot. When you remove the pot from the cup, the bottom descends and the tea stops flowing.

It is made of plastic so that it is not breakable and it has a pleasing shape.

16 oz Tea Infuser

    32 oz Tea Infuser

Check out my other blog posts here, where you can access the Table of Contents: Blog Topics.

Here is the companion video for this blog. Check it out:

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

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Please comment. I would love to know what you think.


 

 

 

Mashed Potatoes, Made From Real Potatoes

How to make mashed potatoes from real potatoes. Mashed potatoes are easy and delicious. They go with any meal at any time.

Mashed Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Sept. 17, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

Ingredients for Mashed Potatoes

4 medium to medium-small potatoes (550g), peeled & chopped into large chunks

50 g butter

Milk 110g

Pinch of salt & pepper

Preparation for Mashed Potatoes

Peel, rinse, and chop potatoes. Put into a pot with a couple of inches of boiling water and a pinch of salt. Boil until soft, approximately 7 to 10 minutes.

Drain the water. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Add the butter and continue mashing. When well mashed and blended, add the milk and continue mashing. Continue mashing and stirring until well blended and smooth.

NOTE: You can replace half of the milk with the equivalent amount of plain yogurt if you want. I love the taste of yogurt in the mashed potatoes.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Serve hot or use later to make Tattie Scones.

TIP: I love to put plain yogurt on my mashed potatoes instead of sour cream or butter. Plain yogurt is more nutritious and adds less fat, plus the taste goes so well with mashed potatoes.

Tools

Do you have a potato masher? It is very important to have a real one to get smooth mashed potatoes. A fork or pastry tool won’t do the job.

Here is my favourite potato masher. You can use a blender but you waste so much potato that stays stuck int he machine and the texture is too fine. Plus, with a potato masher, you control how smooth and fine the potatoes are. The fineness of the mash is critical to the texture and the amazing taste.

If you have leftover mashed potatoes, check out this recipe for Tattie Scones.

Check out other delicious recipes here: Recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

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Tattie Scones

What do you do with left-over mashed potatoes? Make Tattie Scones.

From Scotland, Tattie Scones are traditionally served at breakfast, but they are a great meal accompaniment at any time.

Also called potato scones, or Scottish Potato Scones, they are fast and easy to make. Delicious; here is the recipe to make Tattie Scones.

Tattie Scones
Tattie Scones

Sept. 14, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

Ingredients for Tattie Scones

275 grams of leftover mashed potatoes

100 grams of flour

NOTE: the quantity of flour is approximate. You want to add enough flour so that the mashed potatoes form a ball. You can not make the scones with warm mashed potatoes. They must be at room temperature, but it is better if they are cold from the fridge.

Preparation for Tattie Scones

In a bowl, add the flour to the mashed potatoes and mix until a ball forms. Split the dough into 4 equal balls. On a piece of parchment paper, roll out the ball until it is about 2mm  (1/16″).

Place a round bowl, about the size of the dough, rolled out, on the dough and cut around the edges of the bowl to form a circle. Cut the circle into 4 equal pieces. Place the pieces on a baking sheet. Generally, I don’t oil the baking sheet, but if your dough is very sticky, you should lightly oil the baking sheet. Do the same for the other balls.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake the scones in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, turning them over halfway through the time.

You can also pan-fry the scones. Lightly oil a frying pan and, on medium heat, fry one side for about 4 minutes, then flip and fry the other side for 3 to 4 minutes.

I prefer the baking method because I don’t use oil.

TIP: If your scones are sticky, that means you did not add enough flour. Next time add a little more. The scones should not be sticky when you roll them and put them on the baking sheet.

Serving

Eat the scones when hot and spread a little butter over them.

They can be frozen and reheated or kept in the fridge for up to a few days and reheated.

Check out this recipe to make Mashed Potatoes, Made From Real Potatoes

Check out these other recipe ideas: Recipes from The Daily Basil Blog.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Please comment. I would love to know what you think.


 

What Should We Do To Prepare For The Second Wave Of The Pandemic | 12 Tips

This is the fifth blog in a series on Stay Safe During The Pandemic.

Do experts think there will be a second wave? What do you need to do to prepare for the second wave of the pandemic; coronavirus, COVID-19, according to experts? Should you get a flu shot or other vaccinations? What else should you do to be ready? Here are 12 tips and recommendations, from experts, on what you should stock up and things you should do to be ready for the second wave. Winter is coming. Cold and flu season is coming. We need to prepare.

September 8, 2020 by Deborah Esplin

Will there be a second wave?

Experts say there will be a second wave.    It has already started in some areas of the world. Some countries in Europe have started their second wave as case numbers start to rise. During the summer some areas of Asia started to see coronavirus case numbers rise.

The question that experts can’t answer is how bad will it be? In the Spanish pandemic, the second wave was actually worse than the first. To prevent the second wave being as deadly, experts have the following tips to help you.

What To Do To Prepare For the Second Wave of COVID

One of the key elements of the tips and recommendations below is to reduce the times when you need to leave the house or go to public spaces, reduce your contact with sick people, and have your home and mental outlook prepared for the second wave of coronavirus.

Items To Stock Up On To Prepare For The Pandemic

Stock up on non-perishable foods

It is a good idea to have a one-month supply of non-perishable food in your home so that if you get sick or can not go out for any reason, you will still have the food you need, on hand. If you can stock up on non-perishable foods then you can also reduce the frequency of your visits to the grocery store of the frequency of home deliveries. Look at my article on safe shopping and my article on safe home delivery for more tips.

Stock up on essential medicines

Make sure that you have at least a one-month supply of essential over-the-counter medicines and prescription medicines. Anything you can do to reduce the number and times that you leave the house is a good plan over the next 6 months.

Ensure to have a supply of face masks and hand sanitizer

Stock up on essential supplies like face masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, if you like to use them. Alternately, you can watch my video on how to make your own surface sanitizer or disinfectant following the recommendations of the Canadian government. Check out the video here.

Stock up on cleaning products

While you are stocking up, also make sure to have at least a one-month supply of soap (dish and hand soap), bleach, isopropyl alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. All of these are good for cleaning surfaces and getting rid of coronavirus. You can check out my blog post, 5 Tips On How To Keep Your Home Safe From COVID, where I talk about how to clean the surfaces in your home to eradicate the COVID-19 virus.

As well, stock up on distilled water if you have essential machines that require it.

Things To Do To Prepare For The Second Wave

Get regular appointments out of the way

As much as possible try to schedule regular appointments to be carried out in the near future so that you get them out of the way before winter, before cold and flu season, and before the second wave really takes hold. Plan your regular appointments like teeth cleaning or dental checkup, regularly scheduled medical appointments, hair cuts, eye doctor visits, etc.  for the near future.

This way these regular appointments that you have periodically will be taken care of and you will be able to stay away from these places during the second wave. Of course, this does not apply to emergency needs. Those are important to take care of whenever necessary regardless of the pandemic.

Get a flu shot when it becomes available

Last winter, 2019 to 2020, in the US, there were 39 million cases of the flu minimum and over 24,000 deaths from the flu. Add in the fact that we have coronavirus, COVID-19 circulating in the population, as well, it is a bad recipe. Anything that you can do to reduce your chances of getting the flu and staying healthy will reduce the risk that you get hospitalized for the flu and reduce the chances of your immune system being weakened by getting the flu.

Anything that you can do to prevent a possible hospital stay means the beds are kept free for COVID cases and you reduce your exposure to the virus. Anything that you can do to keep your immune system strong, is also to your benefit.

Get a  pneumonia vaccination

If you are prone to pneumonia, get a pneumonia vaccination. The World Health Organization recommends getting vaccinated against respiratory illnesses.

The Cleveland Clinic recommends that children under 2, adults over 65, smokers, and anyone with chronic diseases that affect the lungs, kidneys, or heart get a pneumonia vaccination.

The Center for Disease Control lists some of the illnesses that can result in pneumonia as a primary or secondary illness, where you can get a vaccination: Haemophilus influenza type B, influenza (flu), Measles, Whooping Cough, Pneumococcal, and Chickenpox.

The pneumonia vaccine will not protect you from getting COVID, but it will help protect you from getting pneumonia. Anything that you can do to reduce your chance of getting pneumonia is a good idea. Pneumonia is a very serious illness and you want to protect your lungs and your health.

This vaccination will not stop you from getting COVID but, at least, it will help prevent you from getting other respiratory illnesses that can weaken your lungs and reduce immune system strength.

Continue the behaviour recommendations

Prevention magazine recommends that we continue all of the behaviours and recommendations that were put in the place at the start of the pandemic:

    • Keep the required physical/social distance from people that are not living in the same household as you.
    • Wear a mask when you are in indoor, public places.
    • Do not touch your face when you are outside the home.
    • Do not shake hands, kiss, or hug people to greet them when they do not live in your home with you. And if someone in your home is sick, then do hug or kiss them while they are sick.
    • Follow all of the recommendations for the area where you live.

Continue frequent hand-washing

Continue following the frequent hand-washing recommendations, especially if you have been out of the home. Also, follow the recommendations for when to sanitize your hands. You can see my blog post here with recommendations. Safe Home Delivery Tips And Should You Wash Your Groceries?

Stay home when you are sick

The CDC recommends that people who are sick, even with a cold or flu, stay home for the first couple of days.  It may be hard to tell the difference, in the early days, between COVID symptoms and cold or flu symptoms. In case you do have coronavirus, staying home when you are not sure, helps protect everyone else.

Plus, even if it is a regular cold or flu, by staying home you do not spread those viruses to others. And some people can react much more severely to a regular cold or flu virus. During the pandemic, it is important to be cautious and to protect yourself and everyone else.

Stay informed of requirements and recommendations in your area

Prevention magazine, in the same article reference above, also recommends that you stay aware of the recommendations and requirements to follow in your area. Listen to the news and stay abreast of any changes in requirements to follow.

Mentally prepare yourself

Prevention magazine, in the link above, also recommends that people mentally prepare for the fact that they will need to continue to follow the behaviours and requirements throughout the winter. We need to accept that this is the new normal for a while. The pandemic is still here and we need to mentally adjust and prepare for what this means over the next 6 months.

In the northern hemisphere, winter is coming, lower light levels are coming, harsher weather is coming and people will be indoors more than during the summer. Cold and flu season is coming. The holiday season is coming.

Take the time to mentally prepare for the fact that you may not see family and friends as often or as easily as it was possible during the warmer months. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, and other holidays may become distance celebrations this year. Just as we managed with Easter and Passover in the spring, we will manage these other holidays as well.

We are fortunate to live in the internet era where we do have tools to connect and celebrate remotely. Take full advantage of these tools. Talk to family and friends and plan your distance celebrations.

Consider the resources you need to mentally prepare and gather them around you. Maybe you want to talk about this with family and friends. Maybe this is a time to find a new hoppy, join virtual groups with the same interest and make new friends and connections. Find ways to stay connected with family and friends, even if it is virtual.

We will maybe have to stay away from family for a while. Outdoor gatherings will become harder as the weather gets colder. But It will not be forever. Remember this is a temporary situation. The second wave will not last forever. The pandemic will not last forever. Winter and shorter days will not last forever. The pandemic will end at some point. Winter will turn to spring. So take the second wave day by day. If you do feel you need more support than what you have from family and friends, search it out. Keeping your mind and outlook positive and healthy is very important during this time.

All of these factors will make this winter harder than usual. Mentally prepare for that. It will be tough, but we can get through this together.

Following these recommendations will help reduce the severity of the second wave and help keep more people healthy and safe.

Other blog posts in this series.

9 Tips On How To Stay Safe While Shopping During COVID

Best Practices Against COVID In The Home 5 Tips To Keep Your Food Safe

5 Tips On How To Keep Your Home Safe From COVID

5 Tips On How To Keep Your Home Safe From COVID

Check out my video on this topic.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Please comment. I would love to know what you think.